In the Wake of That Which Is Noble
By Mizu Onna
Disclaimer: I do not own Chrono Trigger. This was written for enjoyment, not for profit. Please do not sue me.
Author's Note: Unfortunately, I've only been able to play Chrono Trigger now on my PS1 as I only found a copy from a friend recently. I've always loved Chrono Cross, and I'm now very excited to be immersing myself in the world of Chrono Trigger.
Based on the fanfiction I've found, it seems that MagusxLucca is quite the famous pairing. However, Magus+Marle sounds very interesting to me. . . . So, in light of that, this fic is unrequited!Magus+Marle. Hope you enjoy.
This takes place after the gang has visited the Gaspar and Belthasar's Nu and has retrieved the Chrono Trigger and Crono's clone from his house respectively. The current setting is in the Last Village, just before they return to Death's Peak, because they're there to upgrade their weapons.
Magus finds that his heart beats in the wake of she who is noble. unrequited!Magus+Marle
He watched her in the darkness of the hut as she sat before the fire, shivering from the cold that penetrated the thin walls of their current residence. The flames flickered golden upon her face, setting her hair ablaze with ruby and topaz light before curving downwards to lovingly stroke the contours of her body—her scantily-clad body, he noted with a mixture of interest, discomfiture, and forced indifference. Women in his time—both times—were always swathed in many layers of cloth. The women of the Enlightened Ones always donned layers upon layers of silk, velvet, and luxurious furs as a status of wealth, as well as for warmth. The few women he saw from the Earthbound Ones were always covered in pelts and furs—less expensive and less refined, of course—because of their need to survive the ice and the snow. In the Middle Ages, the few women that he'd seen were always covered in voluminous skirts, high-necked bodices, and sometimes even aprons atop them—mostly for modesty, he surmised. Now, faced with this slip of a girl whose bare shoulders and curving belly were visible to all, he was, in all honesty, disturbed.
He had seen her once before, of course; she was alongside Crono when they had fought in his lair. He was then too busy trying to summon Lavos at the time and had barely glanced at her. However, when he had joined their party, he was forced to endure her company, as well as the company of Crono's other friends. They were all bearable, though there was something about this girl that drew his attention. She was of noble birth, of he was certain; the pendant she wore—so similar to his sister's—and her resemblance to Queen Leene from the Middle Ages confirmed that. Yet she barely behaved like royalty; she had no reservations towards people obviously of lower rank, and she was willing to make friends with everyone and anyone—including him.
No, he amended as he gazed at her from beneath the fall of his silver-cerulean hair, she does behave like one person of royalty that I know.
While he had always been a haughty child who only confided in his sister and in his pet cat, Schala had always been very kind to everyone and anyone. She was kind, gentle, and loving, despite the arrogance of their people, and he never understood why. He had always been taciturn, reserved, and brusque in his ways. Nevertheless, he had always loved his older sister, even if he could never understand why she was as such. Now, faced with this girl, he was painfully reminded of Schala, and painfully aware of his reasons for joining Crono's party.
A particularly violent shiver from the girl before the hearth captured his attention. He turned his gaze to her, and she glanced at him with a wan smile.
"It's cold," she mumbled. "Although you wouldn't feel it with everything you're wearing," she pointed out with a small giggle.
He crooked an eyebrow. "Did you always traipse around your castle in those clothes with approval?"
Her eyes widened. "My . . . castle?" She looked down at her hands. "How did you know?" she questioned bemusedly, lifting her gaze to his.
"As I have illustrated to you when we spoke atop the North Cape, I was once royalty, Marle. It takes one to know one."
They gazed at each other for a long time, a million unspoken thoughts passing between them and within them, before he finally turned his gaze from her.
"Why did you join us?" Marle suddenly piped up.
He glanced at her once again, crooking an eyebrow.
"If you don't mind me asking, that is," she added hastily.
He was silent for a moment before he finally answered, "I want to destroy Lavos." Darkness crept back into his voice, and Marle huddled closer to the fire despite herself. "It has ruined everything I once had—my family and my kingdom."
Offering no other explanations, he lapsed into silence, the familiar hatred coursing through his veins, until he willed it away. Looking at Marle, he saw that she was gazing upon him with understanding and compassion. It was too much like Schala's own gaze—too kind and too familiar—that he had to look away.
"And you? Why are you with Crono?" Magus demanded of her.
"I wanted to save the world from Lavos," Marle mumbled softly. "It seemed very idealistic and heroic at the time. Crono, Lucca, and I had passed through a time gate, and we were sent to the future. We saw through the computer that Lavos would destroy the world. I was optimistic. I felt like I was a hero. I told Crono, 'Let's go back in time and stop Lavos!' And because of that . . . Crono was killed."
"So noble," Magus opined softly, perhaps a bit more scornfully than he meant to, though his scorn was not directed at her. "Wanting to safeguard a future you won't even be alive to witness."
Marle seemed to bristle. "It's our world I'm protecting!" she exclaimed, the heat of an argument rushing to color her cheeks. "And it may not be my future directly, but I can't let the futures of those people be extinguished just like that!"
"So noble indeed," Magus drawled. "Unlike my own selfish motivations to kill Lavos. . . ." he muttered, contempt and sadness tinting his words.
Marle's indignant anger seemed to drain from her at his last statement, and she visibly deflated, seeming all the more pale and fragile in the wake of the annoyance that had made her flare back to life.
"It is not selfish to want to avenge your family and your kingdom," Marle whispered, almost wistfully, as if she were never given the opportunity to do the same. "That is noble too."
Their gazes held and met. Magus's lips curled into a faint smile. "Crono is very fortunate to have allies among the likes of you."
Pain flickered briefly in Marle's emerald gaze. She flinched and turned away from him.
"I miss him," she said bluntly, a catch in her voice. "You understand what it's like to lose someone you . . . you admire and hold in great esteem . . ."
Someone I love, Magus told himself, completing Marle's euphemisms inwardly. Although he knew, with a strange bittersweet sensation in his chest, that Marle was talking about a different kind of love.
"Yes," he said instead, "and to the same beast at that."
"No one should ever have to feel this," Marle whispered, raising a pale, delicate hand to her heart. Magus watched her movements with an intensity he only allowed himself to feel when immersed in his spellwork or in his battles, knowing as her heart beat against her palm that it was beating for someone else, and wondering when he'd begun to yearn that the heart beneath her hand was beating for him instead.
"I want to spare everyone that emptiness that comes after losing someone they love. . . ." Marle whispered, moved by her pain.
"And you shall," Magus interjected sharply. Marle glanced up at him in surprise. "Lavos will perish by my hand, and by yours, for both your reasons and my own and the reasons of humanity." His eyes narrowed. "I will see to that."
Marle favored him with a smile—one of the brighter ones she still had stored within her after Crono's death—and Magus felt a heady warmth bloom in his chest, as if he had just partaken of the finest and sweetest wine. He was stunned, almost, in the wake of his emotions, and only realized that he had been gazing at her raptly until another strong shiver shook her tiny frame, snapping him out of his reverie.
"I wish that Glenn would hurry," Marle mumbled to herself. "He seems to be taking his time buying those weapons and equipment. . . . And it's so cold! . . . " she exclaimed, her words punctuated by another shudder, which was followed by a yawn.
"Here," Magus offered, realizing that he had been sitting on most of the furs and pelts that had been covering the singular makeshift bed in the hut. "You can lie here for a moment. I will check up on the frog." He made to rise to his feet and to proceed out of the tent, eager to run away from the feelings far too alien to him—he who had felt nothing but hatred in the bitter eternal hours of the night, and he who had been motivated by nothing but vengeance and power for many a day . . . until today.
However, Marle was quicker than him in her eagerness for warmth, and she had already crawled over to where he was and had already gratefully burrowed into the blankets behind him before he had the chance to rise to his feet. "Thank you," she mumbled as she closed her eyes. "I'm sleepy. . . ."
"It's the cold," Magus told her, also noting that her weariness had cast shadows upon her eyes.
"Can't sleep . . . going to Death Peak in a while . . . going to save Crono with his clone . . ."
"Sleep. You will be wakened," Magus said quietly.
"Mm-hmm . . . Okay . . . " she breathed, and within minutes, she had slipped into a deep and healing sleep.
And finding that he couldn't leave, Magus stayed to watch her for a moment, learning of her with his gaze as she slept. He watched, mesmerized, as the muted firelight played upon her skin, and ached when her hands curled softly into his cloak as she pressed up against him unwittingly in her slumber.
With a quiet sigh so as not to wake her, Magus decided that Glenn could manage on his own for the meantime.